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“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”
― Voltaire

Even the Wicked - Lawrence Block A solid three star read in which Matt Scudder takes on the classic locked-room mystery. Although not one of the more memorable Scudder books, it's an enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. Let the rain begin!We begin with a pleasant domestic scene, TJ and Scudder at Scudder's house, watching a boxing match. TJ is leafing through a spy catalog idly suggesting ideas for their business, particularly a computer system. It becomes a telling detail about moving Scudder forward into the future and his reluctance to do so, and anchors the story in time and culture. They are interrupted when Scudder gets a call from Adrian Whitfield, a lawyer who Scudder has worked for once or twice before. He's just been notified that the latest anonymous letter to show up in columnist Marty McGaw's mailbox has marked him for death. "The Will of the People" is a vigilante who has been using a columnist to share his exploits, murdering people who are untouchable, at least by the legal system. This first victim was a murdering pedophile that Adrian had defended and had been recently released. Adrian consults with Scudder for safety strategies and ends up adding a retainer for finding Will. Half-heartedly working the case, Scudder ends up taking on a second investigation when an friend from AA asks for his help. Her friend, already dying of AIDS, was murdered as he sat on a park bench.Thankfully, the two cases don't converge, which would have stretched credulity. While the solution to the locked-room mystery was predictable, a subsequent twist surprised me and kept me interested. Block continues to have a good ear for realistic dialogue that does more than feed the reader plot points. Characters are steady, largely without significant development in this installment. Fair enough; can't have drama all the time. Scudder's personal life is solidly domestic, and a few friends return for cameos. TJ plays a larger role, as well as a police officer from a former investigation. Perhaps the most disconcerting section is when Scudder attempts to modernize his phone investigation skills. I find I miss the days when he would drop a dime in the corner booth and sweet-talk an operator into giving information. Block reminds of those times as he notes the disappearance of phones from the city, and the inability to accept incoming calls. It's an odd note; is it because Block missed the old days? Scudder? Is Block highlighting the difference? Maybe that's a series motif all along; after all, a few books ago, a number of mentions was made of his 'call forwarding' feature on his room's phone. Overall, a steady entry into the Scudder series.